Economic Pillar

ASEM Summits are good avenues to reinforce the economic partnership between Europe and Asia. WTO-related issues are always high on the agenda, with discussions on the economic pillar of ASEM focusing on globalization, and sustainable development.

So far, ASEM economic dialogue and cooperation have been focusing on the need to better manage economic globalization by promoting multilateralism, enhancing business frameworks between the two regions, and developing innovative ideas in the field of finance, including promoting the role of the Euro. Hence, activities in the economic pillar have been designed to foster cooperation on the issues of reduction of barriers to trade and investment, on matters pertaining to financial and social policy reform, and to promote dialogue on issues relating to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Issues discussed at the Summits include trade facilitation and trade security, trade and development, regionalism and multilateralism, information and communication technology focusing on aspect of competition and liberalization, and investment issues.

Promoting economic multilateralism

ASEM has provided a forum for Asia and Europe to discuss WTO matters, especially during the preparation of WTO ministerial meetings. ASEM offers additional consultative opportunities to address commercial issues regarding implementation of WTO provisions. Since ASEM was launched, Chair statements have consistently made reference to WTO, and that trade liberalization should be conducted through WTO. In addition, ASEM economic dialogue has promoted compliance with applicable international agreements rules by way of peer pressure.

Enhancing trade and investment frameworks

Within the economic pillar, a particular emphasis has been placed on the removal of barriers to trade and investment flows. This work is carried forward in particular through a dialogue on WTO issues, the implementation of a Trade Facilitation Action Plan (TFAP) aimed at the reduction and removal of non-tariff barriers to trade between the two regions, as well as through the implementation of an Investment Promotion Action Plan (IPAP) to promote two-way investment flows between Europe and Asia, and including both a review of investment promotion measures and a dialogue on investment policy.

Fostering dialogue on financial issues

ASEM financial dialogue focuses mainly on macro-economic issues by regularly reviewing the global economic situation and financial developments in both regions. Finance ministers have pursued a dialogue on matters of common interest, including exchanges of views on international financial architecture, on more effective implementation of existing supervisory principles and regulations in the financial sector, on combating money laundering, and strengthening co-operation in the field of customs.

Managing crisis

Responding to the Asian financial crisis, the ASEM London Summit (1998) took two major initiatives by adopting an ASEM Trade Pledge, expressing the common resolve of all ASEM partners to resist any protectionist pressures and at least to maintain the current level of market access while pursuing further multilateral liberalisation, which was recognised as the most effective means of overcoming protectionist pressures and helping to alleviate the crisis.

An ASEM Summits are good avenues to reinforce the economic partnership between Europe and Asia. WTO-related issues are always  high on the agenda, with discussions on the economic pillar of ASEM focusing on globalization, and sustainable development.

 

So far, ASEM economic dialogue and cooperation have been focusing on the need to better manage economic globalization by promoting multilateralism, enhancing business frameworks between the two regions, and developing innovative ideas in the field of finance, including promoting the role of the Euro. Hence, activities in the economic pillar have been designed to foster cooperation on the issues of reduction of barriers to trade and investment, on matters pertaining to financial and social policy reform, and to promote dialogue on issues relating to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

 

Issues discussed at the Summits include trade facilitation and trade securitytrade and developmentregionalism and multilateralisminformation and communication technologyfocusing on aspect of competition and liberalization, and investment issues.

 

Promoting dialogue with the private sector

 

The Asia-Europe Business Forum (AEBF) is an annual meeting where the private and public sectors meet to exchange views, network and debate issues in specific working groups. AEBF provides an opportunity for the business community from Asia and Europe to review issues relating to trade and investment matters as well as providing some input to the official dialogue. As a matter of fact, private sector has an important role to play in identifying obstacles to trade and investment in ASEM countries. The first AEBF meeting was held in Paris in October 1996 and since it has been held annually. In addition, there are informal interactions between the Heads of States attending ASEM Summits and business leaders.

ASEM Task Force for Closer Economic Partnership

During ASEM 4 Leaders decided to set up an action oriented task force to work towards Closer ASEM Economic Partnership between Europe and Asia.

Taking into account work already carried out within the ASEM economic pillar the task force's mandate covers three areas: trade, investment and finance.

ASEM partners nominated personalities of high political standing and long experience in Asia-Europe relations for the Task Force. The Task Force reports to ASEM Finance and Economic Ministers about its progress and delivered its final recommendations to the the Summits. The Task Force has focused its deliberations so far on key international economic issues, such as the current round of multilateral trade negotiations, the Doha Development Round, the development in financial markets in Asia and the exchange rates between the major international currencies.